Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Peacekeeping Training and Capacity-Building

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 7, 2019


Thank you Madam President and congratulations on Indonesia’s council presidency this month. Thanks also to our briefers and to Indonesia for organizing today’s debate on how training and capacity-building can strengthen UN peacekeeping. In that regard, the United States is engaging with partners to provide innovative approaches to improving peacekeeping.

Madam President, we know that high quality training and accountability can directly contribute to the safety and security of uniformed peacekeepers. Just as importantly, qualified, professional troops and police can deliver more effective and efficient missions that better protect civilian populations. Uniformed personnel must also have an understanding of the mandate, the background, and the conditions of their peacekeeping environment.

There are many troop- and police-contributing countries who may have the political will to help peacekeeping operations achieve lasting solutions and who seek partnerships and opportunities to fulfill their peacekeeping potential. This is where the United States excels –we will continue to answer the call to help as the largest bilateral training and capacity-building partner in the world.

Madam President, our commitment to effective development and delivery of peacekeeping training and capacity-building is long-standing. And our efforts are working. Police trained in conjunction with the United States regularly pass UN pre-deployment assessments, and U.S.-trained Rwandan police units, in both UNMISS and MINUSCA, received UN Medals of Service Excellence in recognition of their leadership and efforts to protect civilians, qualities we should demand from all deploying uniformed personnel. On the military side, we are working with a partner troop-contributing country to pilot a pre-deployment certification exercise to validate the readiness of deploying battalions.

Through our peacekeeping initiatives, the United States does more than conduct training courses. Our long-term partnerships help enable partner troop-and police-contributing partners to prepare, deploy, and sustain fit-for-purpose peacekeepers. We hope that other training and capacity-building partners will follow suit.

Our assistance activities further aim to address mission shortfalls that might undermine the performance or effectiveness of a peacekeeping operation. For example, we have provided training and equipment to 41 partner countries to develop 82 distinct critical enabling capabilities – such as engineering companies, level 2 hospitals, and riverine units – for deployment to peacekeeping operations.

Our training also aims to increase the number of qualified civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping. More than 11,000 female military and police personnel have participated in U.S. peacekeeping training events through the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) and the International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support (IPPOS) programs.

Madam President, as part of our efforts to achieve the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all stages of the peace process, we have further integrated gender-related topics into training for all peacekeepers. In GPOI partner countries, we are investing in infrastructure, such as building female barracks and latrines, to accommodate female peacekeepers at training sites. We do these things because we know as you have pointed out; having qualified women in meaningful roles makes peacekeeping missions more effective.

But safety and security is not just about training and capacity-building, it is primarily about improving peacekeeper performance. That is why we drafted Security Council resolution 2436, adopted by consensus last September, and why we welcome the Secretary-General’s commitment to implement an integrated performance policy.

Madam President, resolution 2436 makes clear that the Security Council needs better information on performance in order to make better decisions. From training and capacity-building to ensuring accountability for underperformance, we can’t fix what we don’t know. As the UK also noted, better reporting on peacekeeping will help us to make better decisions in this council. We will therefore continue to work with partners toward the full and speedy implementation of resolution 2436 and through that effort, we will continue to strengthen peacekeeping, including with tailored, targeted training and capacity-building. In turn, this will enhance the safety and security of peacekeepers and the communities they protect, so that we can arrive at lasting conditions for the political solutions we seek.

Thank you.